Let's be honest. Woman to woman. Single mum to single mum. More often than not he did you wrong. He hurt you in ways that you could only imagine a person could be hurt. Maybe you hurt him, too. Maybe you spent a decade or more hurting each other. Maybe he hurt you because he left. Maybe he cheated on you when he promised you were the only one for him. Maybe he was abusive. Maybe he took your identity and ripped it to shreds. This story is for anyone who's been abused, this story is for anyone who sits alone at night filled with resentment.
You heard me right. Forgive him. No matter what he did to you forgive him for it. Even if it was unspeakable you have to forgive him.
I imagine you feel angry about that. "Why should I? I will never forgive him." "Fuck him!" "How could I ever forgive someone who has done that to me?"
Hear me out.
Post breakup, you are bitter and angry. Or maybe you are strong and resilient. Every woman has a situation unique to her. But there's disquiet among us that even the strongest can't escape. It's that badge of honour, it's the martyr card or the victim mentality that we wear so proudly. I will take one for the team and admit I've done it. I will admit that I was full of resentment and hurt. I felt like I was stuck in the house with a sink full of dishes and two screaming children and he was partying the night away not paying a penny for them. I felt like a martyr even though I was a mess. I felt like the noble one, whereas he was a selfish ape who pissed his money up the club toilet wall. I left him. He was abusive. He made me feel about an inch tall. That was the story I hid behind until I realised that it no longer served me.
My victimhood made him powerful. It gave him the power to define me. Every time I told the story I was handing him my autonomy once more. I gave him far more power over my circumstances than he ever deserved. My hatred made him stand far taller than he actually was. By playing the victim, I continued to be one.
It used to give me some sense of satisfaction to hear people say, "You can do so much better," "You are so strong," and "You did the right thing", but in reality I was seeking validation — the validation about myself that he took from me. Yes, he stole it. I no longer knew how to believe in myself. I became a shell of a woman, cobbled together from the shattered pieces he created. I became another sad story, another abuse victim, another woman walking along the street straining from her fake smile. I replayed everything in my head like a sick movie. I was almost addicted to the pain of it. It's a natural part of the healing process: to grieve, to sulk, to pretend you are stronger than you really are. As I said, that story stopped serving me, because I chose to stop being a victim and start being a survivor.
So I forgave him. He never heard me forgive him and he probably never will. To be honest, he never has to know. But with that action I released his iron-like grip over my life. He no longer had a part in my story. When I look back, I just see a man — a man who isn't as tall as I thought he was, a man that I was with who did some terrible things. That man is no longer a monster in my mind. He is insignificant. I am indifferent to him and I can honestly say I wish him the best in life. No one should ever have the power to hurt you long after they have gone, you shouldn't stay trapped in their cage by reliving that story again and again. If I could speak to him now, as a Phoenix from the flames I would say one word. That word would be "Thanks." Thanks for bringing out the best in me, thanks for showing me that I have an identity, and thanks for changing me from a girl into a woman. Look in the mirror and forget about the woman you once were. Learn to forgive her too for her mistakes. Because when you forgive someone, you really free yourself.